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Today I had the pleasure of talking with my BCBA supervisor and trailblazer in the field. Kelle was introduced to the world of autism at a really young age, which led into special education and continued on to her large body of work. In this episode she is sharing with us, from her wealth of knowledge, about how to work with students with problem behavior and what to do to support learners when it becomes a barrier to therapy.
The first step, with any therapy case, is to understand your learner. You can do this by reading the files, interviewing the parents, teachers, and other providers, and talking to the learner. You really want to know who this child is, what they like, and how they work so that you can pair your environment and therapy up to these things. Take a deep breath, take your time, and just build that relationship.

If you’ve built that rapport and problem behavior is still occurring, you can analyze the appropriate next steps. When tier 1 or non-dangerous behavior is occurring it is important to move forward with therapy. Note it, track data on it, but keep doing what you’re doing. Try to avoid accidentally reinforcing that negative behavior. But what if it’s more? 

What is an FBA?

A Functional Behavior Assessment, is a formal assessment process that must be requested as a part of an IEP. This process is worked through the team of providers, parents, and anyone who works with the learner. Next, a direct observation occurs to track patterns and antecedents. Finally, an actual analysis may be necessary where the learner will be tested. We do all this to guide us to an accurate behavior intervention plan.
What is the BIP?

A Behavior Intervention Plan written into an IEP to guide and shape therapy. A BIP can not be created without an FBA. Whoever develops the BIP needs to be the one to train and support staff on how to support the learner.
When it comes to these plans and conversations, they are often occurring because things are not going well which can cause some contention between professionals. Kelle and I both discuss how we find it helpful to remind the team that we are in fact on the same team and that the common goal is to help the learner!
To close out this awesome interview, Kelle shares a little bit about her upcoming conference, The Verbal Behavior Conference. This began in 2018, became virtual throughout COVID, and is occurring both live and virtual this year. There are a ton of great speakers and leaders in the field and so many trending topics on the billet. 

#autism #speechtherapy

Today's Guest:

Kelle Rich, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA graduated from Texas Christian University with a BS in Study of Exceptional Students in 1992. While she was in high school and college, she worked at a residential treatment center specializing in patients with Autism. Upon graduation, she worked as a special education teacher for Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD (CFBISD). In 1995, Kelle took a sabbatical from the district and started her Master’s program with a UNESCO awarded grant through Syracuse University in Rome, Italy. She then returned to the states and finished her Master’s in Behavior Interventions from The University of North Texas in 1996. She returned to CFB-ISD in several roles throughout her tenure there including Crisis Interventionist, Behavior Specialist and Autism Specialist. 

Kelle began training with Dr. Vince Carbone, BCBA-D and was a charter recipient in the first group of Texas Certified Behavior Analysts in 1999. She worked as Dr. Carbone’s Associate over the next decade traveling the world working with children with special needs and training their families, schools and therapists on utilizing the science of ABA and Verbal Behavior in the treatment of Autism and other Developmental Disabilities. She has also had the opportunity to work closely with many leaders in our field such as Dr. Mark Sundberg, BCBA-D and Dr. Patrick McGreevy, BCBA-D. 

In 2003, Kelle opened the Central Texas Autism Center (CTAC) in Austin, TX, one of the first ABA clinics in Texas. CTAC has grown to a staff of over 40 therapists who conduct ABA therapy in the clinic and in homes for children and adults with autism or other developmental delays. CTAC has also physically grown, expanding to 4 specialized buildings for each age level we serve. CTAC also consults with school districts and regional service centers throughout the state of Texas. Kelle piloted the inclusive Academy program, created the Trainer of Trainer workshop series used in many school districts across the state and founded the Verbal Behavior Conference (VBC) attended by over 500 professionals annually. Kelle has co-authored several applied research studies conducted at CTAC and presented at national and international conferences. She has served as Discussant and Chair at numerous professional conferences and is a sought after speaker. She has been featured on NBC, CBS and Fox News as an expert in the field. Kelle is a long-standing member of the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis and serves on both the Public Policy Committee and the Professional Issues Committee. She is a member of CEC, ABAI, APBA and serves on the Professional Board of Directors of the Autism Society of Texas. She was a grant recipient from Autism Speaks for “Healthy Life Choices for People with Autism”, a fitness and wellness program she piloted at CTAC.

Kelle continues to serve as Founder and consultant to CTAC and the General Chair of the VBC. She spends much of her time in Costa Rica where she is one of two BCBA’s in the entire country. She volunteers her time with a local non-profit there serving rural, impoverished families that have minimal access to school or any professional services. 

What's Inside:

  • What is the FBA?
  • What is a BIP?
  • What can you do when problem behavior becomes a barrier to learning?
  • How can speech therapists support students with problem behavior?
  • Why does problem behavior occur?

Mentioned In This Episode

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